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Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bakau
Reviewed 19 June 2009

Myself & my partner stayed here for a week in March and really enjoyed it. The staff were so nice they really looked after us, any time we flinch sitting by the pool they would just be straight over to see if we wanted a drink or somthing to eat. It was very very hot some days hitting 32 was lovely also a nice breeze to so you werent just frying in the sun. At night though its COLD... as soon as it hits 6pm its really chilly you go from bikini to jumper and jeans its amazing how the temp just falls. The rooms were ok, I dont think its 4 start though more like 3 !! the bathroom needed a good bleach to get the tiles gleaming again but all in all it was fine. Our bed was changed every day and fresh towels were also replaced. The pool had clean towels everyday and of of the pool workers would have my sun bed ready for me he was so nice, we left him some clothes and gave him £20.00 when we were leaving, thats like a couple weeks wages so he was so happy. Also gave £20.00 to the house keeper he started crying he was that greatful.. bless, he worked so hard in that heat dont know how he manged it!! I gave lots of flipflops and vest (things I just didnt wear to the girls to) do try and bring pencils with you and visit local schools and give them to the kids they really do appricate it. The beach was stunning, but to be honest we stayed buy the pool most of the time as its a public beach you can get hassled buy the locals. They are harmless just say no and they will leave you alone, its just what they have to do to make a sale but they are really nice people. Food was good at the hotel, breakfast was everything you could ask for and we ate twice there for dinner wasnt bad. A MUST go eat at ONE FOR THE ROAD, best meal we had all week and it wasnt pricey!!! All in all it was a great hoilday but I think a week was enough as there isnt much to do. Go see the crocs they are amazing... great weather good people nice food what more could you ask for really.

Fibad!!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank fibad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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706 - 712 of 930 reviews

Reviewed 17 May 2009

The Ocean bay hotel is situated in a really nice area and is directly on a beautiful beach. We took this holiday at the end of their season which was a mistake as all the locals seem to think you are all millionares and take every opportunity to releave you of your hard earned cash! Even the Hotel prices were inflated for example a small bottle of Fanta orange costing 76 dallas which in our money is £2.10p aprox. The hotel is rated as 4 star by the Gambia Experiance brochure, don't beleive this in the U.K it wouldn't even come in at 2 star. The waiters were alwys willing to serve you with the usual happy smile but when you paid the prices were alwys more than were on the menu's etc and a receipt was never forthcoming. Having said all this the food in the hotel was very nice and the front bar run by a really nice guy clled Bacarli was the plus of the holiday.
My advise to any one interested in going to the Ocean Bay would be just go for the day or stay at the Sunbeach where 4 stars are 4 stars its worth the extra! and don't forget at all costs forget Gambia after April unless you like constant hassle.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank cjgroup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2009

Saw a few reviews about this hotel and decided to give it a try. This hotel is a bit far out of the way but certainly looked the best compared with other hotels we dropped people off at. Hotel entrance was a surprise, with a welcome drink in the lobby bar on arrival we had a good start and quick check in with porter taking our bags to the room. The breakfast was the usual buffet but everything was fresh and there was certainly enough to eat. We found that the drinks in the hotel were a bit expensive especially as they added 15% tax so the price you saw was not the price you got. Didn't have much trouble with the bumsters on the beautiful beach but outside the front of the hotel they were a nuisance. Once they understood we were not interested in going anywhere they left us alone, we only went for R&R and sun. Meals and snacks in the hotel expensive, the Italian (turn left outside the hotel) was good, ignore the bumsters who want to take you there, they get GD25 for each person/couple they bring to the restaurant. Mr. Bass (turn right outside the hotel) was good with live music every night. Good exchange rates (turn right outside the hotel about 100 yards) and there is a little supermarket where you can buy water, beer, cans coke and fanta crisps etc. which you can take back into the hotel. We used our minibar to store our own stuff and nobody minded. Rooms clean and comfortable, tho TV channels are limited, with in room safe at no extra charge. Pool area was clean and all the staff friendly; they played upbeat music (with some quiet time for snoozing) as they did at the beach. Would recommend the massage place tho this is not attached to the hotel and you have to pay cash. The gardens were beautifully kept. Watch out for the mosquitos at sunset they are quite large so make sure you have good repellant and take your malaria tabs. Roads are a bit dark so might be useful to take a torch. All in all we had a wonderful week's holiday (end of their season) and would return again tho certainly wouldn't want to go when very busy. Thomas Cook rep friendly and helpful and didn't push the trips. Flights were okay (no in seat entertainment only tv's in aisles) and inflight food rubbish. Flight was delayed on the return journey but no-one came to tell us what was going on, we missed a connecting flight because of it. You have to hand over your return tickets to the rep because airport still works on check in by hand, no computers, we did okay tho as we got our boarding cards on the bus on the way to the airport, noticed a previous comment that they didn't get their boarding cards.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank diontiger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2009

The trip to The Gambia as a whole was fantastic, eye-opening, and something completely different. The hotel was clean, well presented and as some other reviewers have said much better than any other Hotel in the area. Beware of the prices though, a beer or water is almost twice the price than the cafe outside and to the right of the main enterance of the hotel, 1 minute walk! What is even worse when we went further out to other cities and villages that were not very touristic, the local corner shop was selling a coke for 10 times less than than the hotel! The restaurants in the area are also good the food is wholesome, with flavour. Noteably Mr. Bass, was our favourite were the service was always good and friendly, they also always had live music every night, but beware of the Bumsters! Anytime a lady started to dance about 10-15 bumsters would jump in and join! If you take it as it comes you will be okay, but if you like your space, I think it will be a little overwhelming.

The beaches were beautiful and we spent many a good day on them. BUT beware, apart from the bumster that are everywhere, it is not as safe as you may think. If you go out to your right from the hotel beahc enterance, and walk 10-15 minutes you will get to Sunshine Bar the beach here is nice and quiet, but DO NOT go past the river there, it is not safe! We made the mistake of going there the second day and while we were swimming one of the locals came out of the bushes and nicked our bags! Luckily there wasn't much in them, but still it was very distressing and made us very suspicious of everyone even though there are some really amazing people in The Gambia. We spoke to some locals and there were other stories of people taking a walk in the same area and being attacked. So beware. Next to the Sunshine Bar if she is still there is Estel's massage (can't quite remember the exact name) a lovely Nigerian lady that does a fantastic massage and for a much cheaper price than anywhere near the hotel. She will also look after your things if you decide to go for a swim.

Like some other reviewers we befriended some of the locals, who showed us most of The Gambia from a different perspective other than from the hotel and the tour guides. Oupa, one of the juice vendours outside the hotel on the beach, was fantastic and went a long way to restoring our trust for the local people. He took us on a day trip to Paradise Beach, which included a stop at the local wildlife reserve, were you can feed some monkeys by hand and the local livestock market. The livestock market is not for feint hearted, but if you like fresh meat (slaughtered in the morning) cooked on a barbeque you will love it! On other days we were taken through the local town and crocodile sanctuary. The local town is very sad, and reminds you of just how poor the country is. We were also taken to a local school which is amazing, if you have any spare books or pens or paper or anything take it for them they do appreciate it, they also ask for a donation which is up to you but they do a very good to convince you with all the liitle children.

All-in-all if you are looking for something different, have an open mind and looking for some adventure, this will be great for you.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Gman1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2009

The hotel is the best in the area. Other neighbour hotels didn't look as nice. The beach is beautiful and the sand is so fine, blue skies and a nice breeze - is just great for relaxing! Enough space on the beach for everone. Breakfast was nice - the usual buffet - eggs, bacon, beans, fruit, bread, cold ham and cheeses. There is security on the beach and at the front of the hotel so I felt very safe.
I didn't like the bumpsters situation- they as people are polite and friendly but I didn't like to be approached everytime we husband left the hotel. However, a polite "no" is enough, and after a few days they will leave you alone. Don't want to be bothered by them? Solution: just don't leave the hotel!
I will not write about the restaurants in the area because I agree with the comments posted by others, but note that you don't go to this area for the "cuisine".

I found the service at the hotel average, I know is a developing country, but I also have been to other developing countries and the waiters/waitresses, room attendants, bar staff etc were very well trained. Didn't think they were at the Ocean Bay. Having said that, everything was part of travelling and experiencing other cultures.

We travelled on the local buses/van, taxis. Is cheap and a different experience - i.e. it cost about 12 dalasis to go to Serrakunda.

Overall was a nice experience, very relaxing and it was a different part of the world!

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank UkPc1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2009

We spent 2 weeks at the Ocean Bay in March / April and thoroughly enjoyed it. Our room was clean, and all the staff – without exception – were really friendly & helpful. The breakfasts were good, but I’d agree with most of the other posts here and recommend eating elsewhere in the evening – the hotel’s prices were fairly high for pretty average food.

Actually, none of the restaurants near to the hotel were particularly cheap; the further you went, the cheaper they became. Our favourites were:
Calypso – right next to the hotel and on the beach (turn right as you come onto the beach). A little pricey, particularly in the evening, but good food and a great setting. Be warned – if you order wine by the bottle, it comes in LARGE bottles – v. expensive!
Mr Bass – turn right outside the front of the hotel, and it’s a two minute walk. Cheaper than Calypso, and there’s music most nights, both out front and in the bigger “garden” area at the back.
Sunshine Coast – turn right outside the hotel, and then left at the first corner , then straight on for about five minutes. Widest menu selection of any we tried, good food, reasonable prices and very friendly – music & dancing several nights a week.
Frank’s Hungarian – immediately to the left of the hotel as you come out the front. OK food, and not too expensive – but no atmosphere on the night we ate there.
Italian Connection – turn left outside the hotel, and it’s a five minute walk. Good (Italian!) food, and not too expensive – but not really what we went to the Gambia for!
Sunshine Bar – a 10 minute walk down the beach, to the right of the hotel. Cheap, friendly, and lots of reggae – but if going in the evening, be aware that it’s a little remote & isolated, and can be difficult to find your way back from in the dark unless accompanied by a local.

Bumsters – not that much of a problem. We never felt intimidated, and all were very friendly and were quite easy to brush off with a firm but friendly “no thanks”. If you don’t want them to keep following you, just don’t get drawn into a conversation with them – they will latch onto anything you say, and it makes it harder to get rid of them. Having said they were harmless, by the end of the fortnight it was getting a little wearing – and the downside is that you start to expect everyone who is friendly to you to end up asking for money, which is a shame, as there are plenty of genuinely friendly Gambians.

Guides – we ignored all the advice, and agreed to go on a day out with a couple of lads (Jimmy & Alpha, not official tourist guides) who approached us on the first day. The “safari” they took us on certainly took in a lot of sights, and they were good, friendly company. The main downside was that, having agreed a price with them, we found that everywhere we went we were given “personal” tours or talks by whoever was in charge there, which led to a request for more money – some of which I’m sure went back to Jimmy & Alpha. We didn’t notice this at all on the official excursion we went on. An expensive day – but not really in our terms, and it’s difficult to begrudge it when you know how poor everyone is. The other snag, though, was that having become “friends” with them, they kept wanting to meet up with us, and arrange other trips - and I had to make it very clear to them that we wouldn’t be able to give them more money.

I didn’t personally find the official guides (in grey shirts outside the front of the hotel) much better. I asked one if he could show us around Banjul, but all he was interested in doing was selling us a full day safari with jeep. I walked away. Some of the best guides seem to be the non official ones, although you’re not recommended to use them. If you do, I would suggest not going along with the slick talk of the first one who approaches you – take a few days, get to know someone you feel you can trust, or listen to other people’s recommendations. The best guide we had was Alphonso, the hotel’s entertainment manager (you have to experience his daily quiz – or “qweeeze”, as he calls it). We had an interesting tour of the back streets of Bakau village, the bustling fish market, and a local school. As everyone else has said, please do take pens, notepads, clothes etc to give to the children – they are lovely, and really appreciate your gifts.

Money – Mr Fixit (turn right out of the front of the hotel, 1 minute’s walk) gives a better exchange rate than hotel reception. English currency & travellers cheques are fine – I’ve read somewhere that US travellers cheques are easier to change, but we never had any problems with Sterling. Just don’t rely on credit or debit cards!

Travel plug adaptors – these are supposedly available to hire at the hotel reception, but they never have any. Take your own – but make sure they’re the kind that have a small round hole between (but slightly above) the European style 2 round pins.

All in all, a great place. Just remember that this is a poor country, and that people need to make whatever money they can. Be aware, use your common sense, and enjoy the genuine friendliness of the Gambian people.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank DorchesterMark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2009

Just returned from the Ocean Bay after 2 weeks. The second week had a bit of an end of season feel to it but overall it was good. The breakfasts were fantastic - other hotels are not a patch on this. Some of the cocktail ingredients had run out and they were not going to be restocked. The staff are always polite and friendly. The rooms were clean but do need a bit of a freshen up. We were asked to move from our original room due to a water leak - the new 'upgraded' room then had no hot water for 4 days! However, when you walk through the town of Bakau and see people living near open drains it wasn't something to complain about really.
We had a problem with a couple of the OTG guides getting desperate to earn cash before the end of the season. This spoiled things a lot (avoid Serco and Jimmy as they conned us on arrival).
The beach was far better than I thought with not too many bumsters (perhaps they are now all OTGs??)
Restaurants all had good food. The smiling coast was great value and had excellent live music most nights. Happy corner was disappointing as we often got hassled at our table. Franks was ok. and the Julbrew was on draught there.
The Italian Connection had the best pizza I had ever tasted (including in Italy!) and Danilo is an excellent host.
The saving grace for us was going on the birdwatching walk from the hotel with Barry. He was so interesting (and I'm not a birdwatcher) we booked him to take us to Abuko. At last we found an honest and reliable guide who is someone I would recommend whole heartedly. We would return to the Gambia and Ocean Bay knowing we had him as our guide.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank lovetravellingYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort

Address: Kofi Annan Street, Cape Point, Bakau, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Banjul Division > Bakau
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bakau
Price Range: £83 - £209 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 195
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Ocean Bay Hotel Bakau
Ocean Bay Hotel And Resort
Ocean Bay Resort
Ocean Bay Bakau
Ocean Bay Hotel Gambia
Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort Gambia, Africa

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